Middle school students perform worse academically when they have a teacher of the opposite gender, concludes a study published in the fall issue of the journal Education Next.
The study’s author, Thomas S. Dee, an associate professor of economics at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa., examined federal survey data from 1988 on 25,000 8th graders and their teachers. For both boys and girls, he found, a teacher’s gender had a significant effect on student test performance, teacher perceptions of students, and students’ engagement in classwork.
Though having an opposite-sex teacher negatively affects boys and girls at about the same rate, the impact may be especially important for boys, the author contends, because most of their teachers are females.
A version of this article appeared in the September 06, 2006 edition of Education Week